Category Archives: OLE

Join OLE!

You are invited to join the group of people collaborating openly about ways to learn together in our ALT Lab faculty course, Online Learning Experience. Share with them what you know and what you are researching. Learn with them the value of collaboration and co-learning so you include these Connected Learning principles in your own course design.

“We live in a world in which you can get the answer to any question within seconds,” Rheingold told us over Skype, “but it’s up to you to determine the validity of the information you receive. It’s so important for learners to understand that critical thinking is not just a tool in the toolkit that you can pull out on occasion, but an attitude towards seeing information that you swim in.” In other words, a digital literacy can be seen as a mental framework one develops through practice—a simultaneously personal and collaborative skill that one must constantly hone in the midst of our computer-mediated lives. Practicing Web Wisdom: Mindfully Incorporating Digital Literacies

One thing your instructor can do

Communicate_by_Fenx07While reviewing ECAR survey data related to technology use, I’ve found student comments from the survey prompt “One thing your instructor can do” provide valuable insight.

Most of the student comments requested that faculty use technology to communicate more  — announcements, due dates, detailed information for assignments, grade updates, recorded lectures, simulations, practice cases and, most important, feedback. Examples are:

Communicate often, whether via email, Blackboard, group texting or other similar modes of digital communications.
Some professors could help more if they were more available online when we have questions or concerns.
Connect us to collaboration tools like shared spaces Google docs, drive,
Post lectures for review
Curate materials, especially videos, interactive case studies, or simulations, for students to use to “accompany what we are learning”.

Other research about teaching tells us the same. Community of Inquiry  research defines teaching presence.

your communication with your students is the most important part of the course. Facilitating discourse and sharing personal meaning creates presence. As you help your students stay on task, nudge those who are not as active as needed, answer questions so students don’t get stuck while attempting to do assignments, and ensure the comments in discussions are accurate and on the right track, you create presence.

Connected Learning principles also focus on the communication among learners provided by networked technologies to be essential in establishing shared purpose in a community of people who work together to achieve a shared goal.

Communicating regularly matters, especially to the students themselves.

Learning to Participate in Open and Connected “Gatherings”

ALT Lab invited forty+ faculty to join our Online Learning Experience last week. It is an Open Connected Gathering, described so well by Maureen Crawford,@jmc3ualberta. Thanks to twitter, I found her How-to blog that described succinctly what I know faculty new to open connected learning experience.

I am amazed at the willingness of these faculty to jump into “the buffet or the fire hose/stream” of syndicated blogs and course activity descriptions at our site. I imagine they will experience the same feeling of being overwhelmed, with too much to read and follow, to “ever fully absorb” all that’s available. I hope they learn quickly to sample and “focus on the connections” they are making in this particular learning network, finding the value of collaboration.

We’ve asked that they also use Twitter #vcuole to help them build new network connections among those also teaching open connected courses. And they are!! I hope you find their requests for feedback on their newly developed course activities and blogs. Invite them to your network of educators! They’ll soon be sharing how they’ve included connected learning principles in the design of their courses and teaching practice.

Do you know about Feedly?

When asked by a colleague, “How do I keep up with the blogs I hope to read?” I showed her Feedly,  a Web-based aggregator, used to help manage your personal list of blogs and websites. It’s certainly not the only RSS reader. You can find other examples: http://alternativeto.net/software/google-reader/

But what IS? an aggregator? an RSS reader?

The purpose of the Feedly reader is to create one place to collect your favorite sites for reading when you have time. It’s easy way to get started and you can add more sites at any time.

I’ll show you an example, my feedly site and how I use it